Okay, this isn’t actually the anniversary of the premiere of a certain film — it was May 25, 1977 when a film called just Star Wars opened. But in the nearly 44 years since then, the entire franchise has become a cultural phenomenon. It’s literally been around long enough that some teenage fans of the first film more likely than not may now have grandchildren who are into the current films and shows.
“May the fourth be with you” is a perfect example of that. Somewhere along the way, Star Wars Day was created and while it’s not an official Lucasfilm/Disney event, they still use it to pay tribute to the franchise. Oh — and sell stuff, of course.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Star Wars Day is May 25, since the premiere was here on that date.
There’s not a lot of agreement of how the holiday came about, or where the phrase referring to the date originated, although it’s been attested to as early as 1979, although the first publication was in 1999 in the book The Science of Star Wars by the astrophysicist Jeanne Cavelos.
Incidentally, she was born on May 26th. Missed it by that much.
Now, if you were raised with any touch of Catholicism prior to a certain time, whenever you hear “May the force be with you” (or “the fourth”), you will almost automatically reply, “And also with you.” That’s just a thing. It’s unavoidable. Embrace it.
If you’re more of a Dark Side person, don’t worry. Two days from now, it’s Revenge of the Sixth.
I’ll keep this short, but I will point out one thing: I saw the original trilogy before 1997, which means that I saw… the original trilogy. But Lucas was never one to leave things alone, so as my Star Wars day gift to you, here is just a hint of what he changed when he re-released Episode IV in the late 90s and early 10s.
Well, except for changing the title to Episode IV: A New Hope once Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back came out.
I can’t say that I totally disagree with some of these changes, and the color timing, especially in the 2011 version, is much, much better. However, say it with me…
HAN SHOT FIRST!
Thank you, and May the Fourth Be with You.